Lawmakers Ready To Hit The Ground Crawling

By: AP Email
By: AP Email
Congress gets back to work Monday after a two-week vacation, and it

MGN Online

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress gets back to work Monday after a two-week vacation, and it's looking like lawmakers will do what they do best: the bare minimum.

Forget immigration, a tax overhaul, stiffer gun checks. They're all DOA.

Raising the minimum wage or restoring lost unemployment benefits? Not going to happen. Forcing government approval of the Keystone XL pipeline? Veto bait.

The only things likely to become law in a Congress bitterly divided between House Republicans and the Democratic-led Senate are those that simply have to pass, such as a measure to avoid a government shutdown.

That's a short, short list.

It gets even shorter if you leave off things that can wait until a postelection lame-duck session.

Atop the list is a short-term spending bill to keep the government running past the Oct. 1 start of the new budget year. Votes on the bill aren't needed until September.

After stumbling into a politically costly partial government shutdown last fall, Republicans won't let it happen again, especially with an election just around the corner. This year's measure should be no problem.

Much more difficult, however, is the second main item of must-do business: finding more money for the Highway Trust Fund to keep road and bridge construction projects afloat. The fund is running critically low on cash.

The administration says that could mean a slowdown in construction projects this summer and fall when lawmakers are back home asking voters to return them to Washington for another term. The current highway bill expires at the end of September.


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